The Value of Social Media
Want to see how the competitors manage their online presence? Follow them on Twitter. Analyzing the competition on social media has huge advantages that are almost instantaneous. You can see how they interact with their customers, who their target customer is, and identify their marketing strategy.
Keep an eye on the Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts of your competitors and take notes. What are they doing that is effective that you aren’t? Where are they failing? Facebook pages have a super handy feature called ‘Pages to Watch’ that allows you to see the likes and engagement on other pages. Find out what is working well and what their customers respond well to.
Following their online presence also presents another opportunity if they are stronger in some areas than others. Have they totally missed the Google+ boat? That presents an open door for your business to go in and become the larger voice to a whole new pool of consumers.
Long Term Strategies
Strategy is important, and knowing your competitor’s long term strategies is invaluable. You can go about your research in three main ways: online, in person (if applicable), and word of mouth.
Use an e-mail that doesn’t belong to your company and sign up for competitor newsletters and e-mails. You may even consider making a purchase through your competitor so you can also receive their customer targeted offers and messages. Over time, you can build up the larger picture- you can discover what they are trying to accomplish.
Nothing beats the in person experience. Walking into the storefront of a competitor can teach you a multitude of things including how they approach customer services and how they present their business. Speak with employees, look at the offers, and see what they are doing better. Take a look at this article, ‘Why Even Small Businesses Need Logo Mats‘. Although the premise of logo mats seems insignificant to a long term strategy, it can be one small detail that becomes memorable to the customer and keeps them coming back.
Word of Mouth
Chances are that you and your competitors share many of the same customers. If those customers come to you after a bad experience with your competitor, they will say so. Find out what caused the customer to come to you. It can reveal not only where the competitor is falling short, but more importantly what they are actually focusing their resources on.
The best way to learn from your competitors is to pay attention to every aspect of their business. Whether that is their Facebook page or their Spring Sale, there is always a lesson for your own company. Know what they do well, and what you do better; in the end you will be the one to watch.
Jessica Galbraith is a full-time writer, business owner, and author of the travel blog The Fly Away American. Connect with her on Twitter @flyawayamerican.
Image Credit: FotoFling Scotland